OVER a third more patients will be able to be cared for at St Richard’s Hospice as the charity announces £1.4million plans to extend the In-patient Unit.

The plans will see four new bedrooms built and a change to the configuration of existing rooms to create 13 single rooms and two double rooms at its site in Wildwood Drive, Worcester.

There are also plans to build a second family sitting room, therapies room, satellite nurse station, IPU manager’s office, case conference room and doctor’s room.

The redevelopment will mean St Richard’s Hospice can take up to 74 more admissions each year according to detailed audit work carried out by clinical staff.

Chief executive Mark Jackson said: “Our feedback from patients and their families is always very positive but after a detailed survey we realised that changing to mainly single rooms will radically improve the privacy and dignity of a patient.

“The single bedrooms will enable us to care for more patients.”

Mr Jackson explained that single rooms were more popular with patients and families and believed the extra bed availability would help prevent inappropriate admissions to the NHS Acute or Community Hospitals.

He said: “Many of our patients’ conditions are very complex and we will be able to offer more compassionate, attentive and individual care in single rooms.”

The charity has applied to the Department of Health for the maximum grant of £750,000 and are optimistic that it will receive good news in March.

The remaining funds will be met from some unexpected and generous Gifts in Wills as well as from Grant Making Trusts and hospice reserves.

Mr Jackson added: “We are using the money wisely by building in the capacity to convert two more rooms to single rooms should the need arise in the future, giving us the potential capacity of caring for 19 patients.

“We are building for the future and thank the community for their continued support of St Richard’s which ensures we are here to serve local people when they need us.”

One of the bedrooms will be a double-bedded family room so a patient and family members can stay together overnight.

The two double rooms will also be able to be sub divided into four single rooms if required.

Building work is due to start in June with the bigger In-patient Unit due to be caring for more patients in April 2014.

St Richard’s Hospice provides free specialist palliative care for patients living with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and supports their families.

Each year the hospice team supports over 2,300 patients and family members in Worcestershire.

Patients are cared for in Day Hospice, the 16-bed In-patient Unit or in their own homes by a specialist professional team as well as many trained volunteers.

In the In-patient Unit specialist staff are on hand 24 hours a day to manage patients’ symptoms and where, if they so choose, patients may spend the last few days of life in comfort and dignity.